As the country exercises “social distancing” to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, determining the safety of the items we bring into our homes is also paramount. Whether it’s groceries or mail / packages, the experts have some advice on how to stay as safe as possible.
Is The Mail Safe?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the US Surgeon General have indicated that there is currently NO EVIDENCE that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.
According to the WHO website (https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses):
“Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported?
Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”
While the virus has been reported to remain in tact on surfaces for varying amount of time depending on the material, the conditions in which letters and packages make their way through the delivery system make it unlikely for the the COVID-19 to be transmitted in this way.
According to the CDC, this virus spreads primarily from person to person via respiratory droplets — like coughing or sneezing — not by touching a surface.
Steps the Post Office is Taking
The USPS is critical to keep mail and packages coming to our homes, especially as so many of us are severely restricting our trips to stores and other businesses. The USPS has announced the steps they’re taking to keep safe its employees and its customers during the pandemic.
- Ensuring that masks, gloves and cleaning and sanitizing products are available every day in their 30,000 facilities nationwide
- Following CDC guidance within facilities to maintain social distancing practices and to update cleaning procedures
- Eliminating the requirement that customers sign Mobile Delivery Devices when receiving a delivery and having postal carriers politely request to customers that they maintain a distance when the mail is being delivered
- Updating leave policies to make sure any employees who feel unwell stay home and expanding telework policies for those whose jobs allow them to work remotely
Some people are choosing to leave packages outside for a period of time and disposing of packaging immediately. While health experts say there is no need to take those steps, they do recommend a 20-second, vigorous hand wash after handling mail or packages.
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